THE BLOG
03/04/2018 13:29 BST | Updated 03/04/2018 13:29 BST

We Have A Duty To Hold Israel To Account And Stand Up For The Rights Of Palestinians

Just like how you can’t be 'a bit pregnant', ultimately you are either against human rights abuses or you are not

Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters

This week we have witnessed the worst violence in Gaza since 2014. Israel has deployed tanks and sharpshooters against unarmed civilians, wounding more than 750 Palestinian protesters whilst killing 16, all because people who have been driven out of their land protested for their right to return

The UN security council’s emergency meeting failed to pass a resolution to condemn Israel for its actions.  It is time that the UN looks inwards and questions its own effectiveness as an international peace initiative. 

For over half a century the Palestinians have looked to the UN for hope that one day it will provide their rights and peace in the region - the sad reality is that UN has been ineffective. The young Palestinian looks to the day when the UN goes beyond issuing resolutions to actually implementing them.

I’m asking people in positions of leadership, including our own government, to search their souls when it comes to what is happening in Gaza.

The question I ask is: how do we protest against these latest killings of unarmed civilians? While I don’t deny we have prejudice in our society, when it comes to the issue of Israel’s atrocities against the Palestinians, from my experience, protest and condemnation is on the whole driven by our human core, which hurts when we see injustice. But we must express our pain at at this injustice without causing more pain to a race that was on the receiving end of the worst crime of the 20th Century.

This week we have witnessed the worst violence in Gaza since 2014 - we must protest the actions of the Netanyahu government, and we must also call upon other governments to do the same

 

I appreciate people feel more strongly about some issues than others but - just like how you can’t be ‘a bit pregnant’ - you are either against human rights abuses or you are not. You can’t be against prejudice or persecution for one group of people over another. Prejudice and persecution have no hierarchy, they are what they are.

There are legitimate, real and pressing reasons for criticising the actions of the Israeli state against the Palestinians. I condemn Israel for its illegal occupation, its continuing abhorrent human rights violations, its flagrant disregard of international laws, its disproportionate use of military might, and its treatment of child prisoners.

Israel is a state, an elected state which should be and must be held to account. We must protest the actions of the Netanyahu government, and we must also call upon other governments to do the same. It can never be ok for Israel to continue to deprive the Palestinian people of even the most basic rights.

I will continue to criticise Israel’s actions and policies towards Palestinians, I abhor and condemn its actions and support Labour’s call for Israel to exercise restraint whilst respecting the rights of people to peaceful protest. Israel must end the blockade and the humanitarian crisis inside Gaza and end the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. The Palestinian people command the world’s attention and it is our duty to adhere and end their suffering.

Where are the condemnations, where is the outrage? Are we going to ask Israel to end its brute use of force and end its indiscriminate killing, only to repeat the message in another few months or years as we have always continued to do so?

Human life is sacred and we all have a duty to stand up against injustice. If my condemnation is wrong, then someone please tell me what is right.

Naz Shah is the Labour MP for Bradford West